Servant - in the greek it means bondservant, more or less meaning slave. Do I consider myself a slave for Christ? I try to Love the Lord by keeping his commandments, but even in that I fail. If I'm a slave - there should be no question what the right decision is when sinful opportunities arise. I like that the greek translates BONDservant. It reckons the connection as being inseparable. Which is true - I have been bought with a high price, and now that I have the Holy Spirit in me, and a regenerate heart, I could never escape from the Lord, no matter how much I try and run away. Like a father watching his kids, when I run too far away, he is always quick to snatch me up in his arms.
The perspective of James, and likewise Jude - who begins his book the same way - is very interesting. These two men were brothers of Jesus, they grew up along side of him. It makes sense that Christ's family call him crazy in the gospels - can you imagine your own brother or sister deserving your worship as king? but here, at the start of their books, they call themselves servants of Jesus Christ. Servants to their own brother.
Another interesting thought is that the tribes are scattered. “Scattered” here is the word “diaspora” which comes from two words: “dia” - through, and “speirein” - to sow. The word literally means “through sowing”, which makes what the ESV refers to as "the Dispersement", seem to be a reaction to Christ's command "bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth."
But the Jewish context of the tripes seems more related to Acts 11:19, when the Christian Jews were scattered from Jerusalem after the stoning of Stephen. There is a communicable idea that going out into the world is to sow the gospel as well. The reason for leaving aside, the actions are one.
Regardless of the strength of intentions by the word scattered, James is clearly writing to the saved abroad. Being the pastor of the church in Jerusalem, his letter is an encouragement to his brothers and sisters forced to leave the Holy land for their faith. As a christian in the world, I feel alien - due to sin, rebellion, clashing cultures - and i'm not always in my comfort zone in the world. Maybe my perspective is not so different.
He uses his letter to urge all Christians toward serious holiness and unconditional obedience to the word of God - which often times seem like the same idea to me. I often try to prove my holiness to God through obedience - but I've recently found that to be more a reaction to fear of God's judgement than of joy for what He has done for me. I'm looking forward to diving into holiness as a discipline, instead of seeing it as a reaction to what I do.